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Demonstrators allowed to remain outside courthouse in Ahmaud Arbery case

In the murder trial of three men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery, Judge Walmsley rejected a motion filed by the defense to prevent protesters assembling outside the courthouse.

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Credit: Jordan Chin

In the murder trial of three men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery, Judge Walmsley rejected a motion filed by the defense to prevent protesters assembling outside the courthouse.

William “Roddie” Bryan’s attorney Kevin Gough filed the motion, stating that the gatherings make it difficult to guarantee a fair trial for William Bryan. In his words, the state has an obligation to pursue any evidence that might suggest there was any deliberate or unintentional effort made – either here on the courthouse steps or in the Black media – to tamper with this jury or influence these jurors.

Judge Walmsley, however, stated on Tuesday (Oct. 26) that there is no evidence to support the demonstration could impede the jury’s work. In addition, the courthouse space was a public area, he said.

“The court finds that the protesters have not met their burden to limit the first amendment rights of anyone who may come to the courthouse grounds, which are public spaces,” said the judge, who also added that no issues have been reported to the Sheriff’s Department from the protesters.

Bryan McMichael, Gregory McMichael, and their son Travis McMichael left for the jury selection process on October 18. There are a number of charges leveled against the three men, including murder, felony murder, assault, and false imprisonment. Bryan has been accused of blocking Arbery in with his truck when he chased Arbery and killed him, according to the McMichaels.

They also face federal charges including a charge of attempted kidnapping and an attempted violation of rights, both of which are hate crimes. In addition, it was alleged that the McMichaels used a firearm during a violent crime. On February 1, 2016, the men will stand trial on the charges brought by the federal government.

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